Based on the youtube stats (14.7 million views in only 5 days), I’m assuming most people have already seen this — but just in case you haven’t, this is Susan Boyle…
Interesting new commercial from Sprint. I’m not sure if their statistics are accurate, but they’re certainly believable. This might sound crazy, but I feel like this ad is a collage of our culture right now. It’s obviously a very limited collection of snapshots, but it definitely says something about the life-trends of many people in our world today. I’m not sure if the progressive reality represented in the commercial should evoke more hope, fear or caution, but watch it for yourself and see what you think. Then google “miracle banana diet.” But don’t forget your phone in a cab!
My friend Heather (aka “HJ”) wrote a great post on her blog today titled “I wonder as I wander.” (Named after the Christmas hymn with the same title.) I don’t usually recycle another bloggers content, but I think a few excerpts should be shared.
The heading of the post was “Christmasy things I wonder about” and here are two examples of her wittiness and wonder…
“When did ugly sweaters (of the ugly sweater party variety) become ugly? Like, what year did they turn from cool to ugly?”
“Where is mistletoe? You know…when you’re out hiking people always say, “oh there’s poison ivy” or “that’s a pretty fern.” No one has ever pointed out mistletoe to me.”
If you have a minute and you “wonder” what else made Heather’s list of Christmas confusion, just “wander” over to hjshaunt.
Everyone is obsessed with going green lately. It’s the cool thing to do. I can respect people trying to preserve what God created to be beautiful, and I like to think I’m doing my part, but in reality, isn’t it more that we’re just making minor changes to destroy God’s creation at a slightly slower pace?
I know Al Gore has a lot to do with all this attention and concern over the earth (thanks in large part to his documentary An Inconvenient Truth) – and believe me, I don’t have any problem with Mr. Gore (the guy invented the internet after all!) – but more than anything, I think a lot of people have used this whole movement of loving the earth and making changes to be sensitive to the environment as an opportunity to feel like they’re helping (or at least get recognized as someone who is helping) while doing as little as possible. Let me give a quick example of what I’m talking about:
Very few of the people today with scooters and hybrids (especially the green crowd favorite, the Toyota Prius) are actually driving less, but they are spending less money on gas…and saving money is always cool.
I don’t want to get into a long rant about the good and bad of all this, because I don’t think it would lead to anything good (so what’s the point), but I did want to discuss the this whole “going green” thing enough to share something that happened to me today.
It was a beautiful fall day in Minneapolis. The sun was shining. The leaves are changing from green into deep shades of yellow, red and orange. And it was the perfect temperature (when you can wear warm or cool weather clothes and be equally comfortable in either). I had a few things to pick up at Target, so I hopped in my car, popped open the sunroof and turned on some Coldplay. I was feeling pretty good. I chose a parking spot in the back half of the lot because it just seemed like too nice of a day to park in front, even though there were plenty of open spots closer to the store. As I strolled into Target, performing the somewhat awkward “where do I go so I’m not in the way of cars” walk all the way through the parking lot, I ended up behind an older woman who was moving really slow and looked a bit confused. I couldn’t go around her without weaving between cars or jumping in front of them, and plus I became interested in whatever it was that she was doing, so I stayed behind her even though I wanted to walk faster.
There is a Starbucks inside this particular Target, and in the coffee shop there are some windows looking out into the parking lot. As the old woman and I walked along the sidewalk next to the store, she kept stopping at each window to look in, although she never seemed to see who/what she was looking for. When we finally made it to the entrance she reached her hand toward the garbage and didn’t even notice when the wind took the white piece of whatever out of her hand and it completely missed the garbage can. Being just a few steps behind her, it ended up on the ground right in front of me … [here comes my green moment, my opportunity to be environmentally friendly] … I picked up my foot to step on it – saving it from becoming another piece of trash floating around the earth – and then, I did something I’ve been regretting the rest of the day. I picked it up and threw it away.
Right now you’re probably wondering, why would you regret picking up a piece of trash and throwing it away? I’ll explain in a second, but first let’s get back to the whole “going green” thing. Like I said, I have no problem whatsoever with the environmental awareness and care initiatives. It’s actually a great cause and I’m glad people are taking it seriously. I just don’t think it’s something anyone should brag about, as if they’re better than others because they live “more green” than them, especially when being “green” often requires a certain level of expendable income that many people are not fortunate enough to have…making it a lot like so many other issues, for instance, the issue of eating healthy vs. unhealthy (it costs more to eat healthy than unhealthy, which is one of the reasons why people living in lower economic classes often have more health issues than those living in the higher classes, but that’s a topic for another day). I happen to think the slogan “go green” that you see all over the place today is a great reminder for people to do little things that will really help the environment. I would actually compare it to the WWJD bracelets that were so popular not too long ago. Sure, green signs or Jesus bracelets probably aren’t going to solve any problems, and they’re really just pointing out something that we should have already been thinking about, but they do serve as effective reminders that can have an affect on our attitude about a lot of things that will all help us all be more loving and better stewards of what God has given and entrusted to us. But let’s get back to the Target parking lot and the little old lady.
When we left the story a few paragraphs ago I had just reached down to pick up the little white piece of trash she had attempted to throw away. I also said that I now regret doing so, and I want to explain why this is the case. You see, as I was bending down to pick up whatever it was she had poorly attempted to drop in the garbage, my mind caught up with what was going on and informed me that what I was about to pick up was not just a piece of paper paper or an old receipt as I had assumed. No no, I would have no regrets about picking up one of Miss Daisy’s notes to herself or an old shopping list, but what I was about to pick up, and eventually did pick up and hold in my hand for approximately five disgusting seconds, was an old…snotty…kleenex. Gross, right? And when I was reaching down I realized what it was, but by then I had already committed to it (I was bent half down to the ground with my arm extended). Plus, I was “going green” in public, there were other people all around. What was I gonna do, stand up, lift my foot and let it blow away? I suppose I could have turned to the people walking in and out of the store who witnessed what I had done and explain to them what was going on…”I decided not to pick it up because it was that old lady’s snotty kleenex and I just didn’t want to touch it, let alone risk catching whatever illness she might currently have. You understand, right?” I mean seriously, how ridiculous would it have been if I said all that? Plus I was having a good day up until that point, and I didn’t want anything to ruin my vibe. But I have to admit, my vibe was starting to waiver a bit when when I walked into Target. I was actually praying that I wouldn’t end up with a cold as a result of my efforts to save the environment, one kleenex at a time.
So is going green always worth it? I’m not sure yet. I suppose it’ll take until tomorrow to know if I’m in the clear from any sick-germs that might have been lingering on that nasty kleenex. Here’s to hoping the old lady was healthy, and that she found what she was looking for at Target. I’m sure she did…they have everything at Target.
Sorry I haven’t posted anything for a while. I’m not assuming you’ve been checking everyday hoping for new stuff, but I wanted to acknowledge that I’m aware it’s been nearly a week since I’ve added anything. I took some time off from everything (school, work, writing) this weekend and spent time with my family. My parents got back from Tanzania on Thursday, so I spent the Easter weekend at their house and heard stories about my dad’s three month adventure, saw tons of pictures, watched basketball from about noon until 10pm everyday, went to church a few times and my whole family spent the afternoon together on Easter at one of my sister’s houses. It felt like an eventful weekend, but thinking back it was actually pretty lazy (which is always nice), and even though I didn’t do this intentionally, I had an almost internet-less weekend (which also felt kind of good, surprisingly). It’s great to have my parents back, especially my dad since he was gone for so long. If you didn’t get a chance to read his blog from when he was in Tanzania, here’s the link to Tom Goes to Africa. It’s worth skimming through and reading a bit, even if you aren’t familiar with African/Tanzanian culture (since it’s written from an American’s perspective). He’s a great writer and he shared some really incredible experiences.
I realize this entry has already been somewhat personal and random, so I’m going to continue on that theme and share some quick notes and links on a few things I’ve been thinking about and working on lately.
- Thanks for all the nice notes about my article in Prodigal Son Magazine. I forgot to mention that the magazine also has a media section and the “Broken” video that I made is on there.
- It looks like a reworked article from the “Consumer Evangelism” entry I posted on anewdoxology (2/23) will be in the next issue of Prodigal Son that will be online a week from Thursday (4/3). If you remember, that was the entry about stores, restaurants and other retailers who express Christian messages in some way, shape or form through their products and/or business practices. I only started chipping away and all the examples of who/how/where these forms of evangelism take place in the American marketplace, so if you know of others (even if it means doing a little research), please share them by leaving a comment on the article here AND on Prodigal Son (I’ll post a link to the article when it’s online next week).
- One of my seminary profs is preaching in chapel on campus next week and she asked me to consider creating a video to be used as part of the message. The Gospel text she’ll be using is from Luke 24:36b-48, which is a bit of a strange story of Jesus appearing to the disciples after he was crucified and then his body disappeared from the tomb. They were obviously freaked out, because they thought he was a ghost. Jesus gets them to settle down, maybe gives them each a Zanex, then he shows them the holes in his hands and feet where the nails had been (he even eats food in front of them so they know he’s not a ghost). Jesus then reminds them that he had been telling them all along that he would be beaten, killed and then rise from the dead for the forgiveness of people’s sins, and that he had now done these things so that the Good News of eternal life and forgiveness could be shared with all people throughout the world. The story ends with Jesus telling the disciples, “You are witnesses of these things.” My professor wants to focus her message (and the video) on the word “WITNESS.” This is the word Jesus uses in reference to the disciples, but I think this word also has meaning (and implications) for us in our life and faith. Trying to create this short video has been really challenging (and frustrating) for me. I just didn’t know where to start and what direction to go in. The first thing I thought about was this Nike commercial of LeBron James from the NBA Playoffs last year called “We are all witnesses.” Then I thought about something that Jason (the guy from Prodigal Son) started with his wife recently called One Million Witnesses. They’re calling it “the ultimate faith experiment” and basically they’ve partnered with mission organizations to raise awareness and funds for projects like build wells for people in other parts of the world so they have clean water. The way people like you and me can get involved is by sharing stories of our faith on onemillionwitnesses.com and making a donation. It’s a cool idea, and one of the best other ways people can get involved is by telling others about it (so please pass on the link if you think it’s something that other people should know about). Back to the video I have been struggling to create. From Sunday evening until late Monday night/early Tuesday morning, I probably spent at least 12 hours making notes, searching for videos, images and quotes, listening to songs and finally (late last night) putting it together into a video. I have a rough version nearly finished now, but I’m still not sure if I like it and have no idea if it’s anything close to what my professors was looking for. I thought about posting a request for help on Sunday night as I was having a really hard time finding focus for the project, but I decided to keep pushing through on my own and asking for feedback later. Depending on how much time I spend on it over the next few days (I’m on Easter/spring break until Thursday), I might post a first draft later this week. Not that I think anyone will be holding their breath in anticipation of its release, but please check back to see if I’ve put it up because I’d really appreciate it if people watched it and let me know what they think since I’ll need to have it completely finished soon so that my professor can incorporate it into the message of her chapel sermon before next week.
- Finally, I wanted to post something about this yesterday but then I got caught up in making the video having a “chill day” with my roommate. A friend of mine is starting a new faith community (aka “a church”) in downtown Minneapolis that I think fits a lot of the core elements of anewdoxology. It’s being held in a bar really close to the Target Center and it’s called The Well (a community of faith thirsty for something different). The first service is tonight (3/25) at Lone Tree Bar & Grille (528 Hennepin Ave, Mpls). Doors open at 6:00pm and the service starts at 7:30pm (drink and food specials until 7:00pm). I’m planning to go check it out and support someone who’s taking a radical step for the church to truly meet people where they’re at (even though that’s what a lot of churches say they’re about, but they require people to come to the actual church building first in order to “meet them”). At least for now, The Well will meet on the last Tuesday of each month (so the next one after tonight is 4/29). For more info, check out this facebook group.
When I woke up this morning I thought it was going to be just another regular Tuesday. I walked to the kitchen and toasted a bagel and then sat down at my desk to eat breakfast and check a few of my “usual” websites. After checking my emails I went to espn.com and froze in my seat when I saw the BREAKING NEWS Alert on top of the page. My outlook on the whole day (and perhaps the whole world, at least temporarily) changed when I read the headline “Favre tells Packers he’s retiring” in Chris Mortenson’s breaking story. I checked the time stamp on the story and it read 9:39am ET; I was reading it at 8:45am CT. The story had broke only 6 minutes earlier. To be fair, Jay Glazer may have actually been the first to break this story on foxsports.com, but that was probably only a few minutes earlier. I turned on ESPN and they hadn’t even interrupted Sportscenter and their other regular programming to report the story. I felt weird being one of the first to know something that was about to become a really big deal to a lot of people. I’ve been a Packers fan since I can remember watching football, it’s a tradition passed on to me by my dad, who became a Green Bay fan because his dad (my grandpa) grew up cheering for the Packers in Wisconsin.
Brett Favre has been the quarterback of the Packers for the past 16 seasons and holds nearly every possible statistical record for quarterbacks in the history of the NFL. He led the Packers to the Super Bowl twice, winning the championship in 1997; and Brett is only the player in NFL history to win the MVP award three times (and he did it in three consecutive seasons, from 1995-1997). But beyond all the stats, Super Bowls and MVP awards, Brett Favre became the most loved football player (not just quarterback) ever because of the character and spirit he brought onto both the football field and into life. Favre was the guy who was always jumping around after a touchdown and high-fiving lineman who had just knocked him down, and even in his older age this year he was often seen carrying receivers off the field or even throwing snowballs at teammates as the Packers went 13-3 and came within one game of the Super Bowl. Continue reading
In case you didn’t notice, anewdoxology has anewlook. Don’t worry though…all the old stuff is still here, the layout is basically the same and I’m going to continue adding content that reflects my faith-influenced perspective on popular culture (and my popculture-influenced perspective on faith).
What do you think?